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Meet the Interns: Lauritz Holm Petersen

The Recreational Fear Lab is delighted to host two research interns in the spring of 2021. In this post, lab intern Lauritz Holm Petersen tells us about himself and his interest in the lab.

My name is Lauritz and I’m currently doing my MA in Religious Studies, Aarhus University. I will be writing my Master’s thesis on the psychological and behavioral effects of belief in ‘The end of the world’ and other end-time narratives – a project that will hopefully turn into a PhD project one day.

I contacted Mathias, director of Recreational Fear Lab, due to his interest in bio-cultural studies of post-apocalyptic fiction and general research on the varieties of human imaginative culture, which I believe can bring me some important insights into my own project.

The correspondence eventually turned into an internship full of fun and challenging tasks – from watching Dungeons & Dragons streams on YouTube, to interviewing nursery leaders about the benefits of scaring toddlers. The pandemic has unfortunately put a stop to the fieldwork at Dystopia Haunted House, which would otherwise have been a central component of my internship. However, we are currently working on an exciting project on recreational fear among children, which gives me plenty to do from my bedroom workstation, as well as rewarding insights into the early stages of a research project.

My interest in end-of-the-world mythology might originate from my lifelong ‘guilty pleasure’; disaster movies (The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, etc.), which I watch with great delight. Whether this recreational activity makes me better adapted to real-life disasters, I don’t know – but the possibility is at least a good reason to watch another!